As a Long Island Divorce Attorney, I counsel all my clients to get their financial affairs in order as soon as possible in the divorce process. When people learn I am a divorce attorney, I often hear stories of how they wish they had done things differently before and during divorce, especially when it comes to their finances.
Since divorce is possibly one of the most stressful time of one’s life, one does not always consider the importance of preparing financially for the hurdles. However, some careful organization and planning can go a long way toward easing the financial stress of divorce.
Take an Honest Look at Your Finances
For some, taking an honest look at their finances and financial future may be the hardest part of this process. For most people the reality of post-divorce finances require some adjustment. Your standard of living will likely change after your divorce, and this can be extremely stressful. However, there is no use postponing or procrastinating. You can take control of your finances by taking a truthful inventory of your assets, debts, income and expenses, and then evaluating how it is best to move forward. This will greatly help you to prepare for managing your finances throughout the divorce process as well as after the divorce is final.
Make a List and Check It Twice
First, it is essential that anyone preparing for divorce take a full inventory of his or her finances. Look honestly at debts, assets and investments. Make a list of all of your properties, including cars, boats and real property. Note which you owned prior to marriage, which are owned solely by you (and not also by your spouse), and which are owned jointly by both you and your spouse. In New York, property that is owned by one person prior to when the marriage took place is not considered “marital property.” It is often retained by its original owner after divorce. Conversely, property obtained during the course of the marriage is considered marital property, and may be subject to equitable distribution by the court.
Examine Your Day-To-Day Expenses
Taking the concept of honesty a step further, you will also need to take a look at your day-to-day living expenses and spending habits. Scrutinize your credit card and checking account statements. Ask yourself if there is any way to cut back on your spending during your divorce. The best strategy is to choose areas where you can comfortably cut back your spending, and then stick to this decision. Although it might be difficult at times, it will ultimately give you some peace of mind throughout the process and set good habits for after your divorce.
Establish Your Financial Independence Now
Preparing for your financial future might also mean that it is time to establish your financial independence. Begin by checking your credit score. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses in terms of credit can help you to make improvements over time. Consider establishing your credit independently of your spouse by opening a new credit card in your own name. Along the same lines, it may be a good idea to open a personal account to which your spouse does not have access. While this account will need to be disclosed in your financial affidavit, it is still beneficial to keep a separate account to ensure that you have funds to which only you have access. Consider also saving as much as possible throughout this time period. Furthermore, in the interest of privacy, having your mail sent to another address such as a post office box can also help you to keep your private information secure.
Monitor Activity in Joint Accounts
Monitoring activity in accounts held jointly between you and your spouse will also be an importance piece of preparation for your divorce. Obtain statements from all of your accounts, and store them safely. This should be done as soon as possible in this process, as it will safeguard your accounts against potential interference from your spouse. This point is important particularly because some spouses will attempt to hide assets in hopes that they will not be equitably distributed in the divorce. This is a good reason to remain aware of the activity in your shared accounts.
Get Organized, then Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
Remaining organized and diligent throughout the process of divorce will not only help you in your financial future, but it will also help you to feel mentally prepared for the process. In addition, organizing your information well ahead of time will allow your attorney to help you more efficiently. If you have any questions about your divorce, separation, or other family law matter, it is in your best interests to speak to an experienced divorce lawyer on Long Island that can help you understand your rights and obligations in your unique set of circumstances. Contact the Long Island Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. today at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation.
Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.it is best to speak to an experienced divorce lawyer on Long Island that can help you understand your rights and obligations in your unique set of circumstances. Contact the Long Island Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. today at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation.